Book Review: It’s Not About the Burqa, Edited by Mariam Khan

This collection of stories and essays by Muslim women is a much needed endeavour so I really appreciate the creation of this book. As a Muslim woman, the intention behind this book resonates very strongly with me, in that it gives space to the plethora of Muslim women in the world and their stories and perspectives in a world that is increasingly hostile to Islam. Muslim women often bare the brunt of a politicised identity on top of the gendered issues we face as women. 

Whether it be the day to day micro-aggressions, governments policing the way we dress, or the media enforcing stereotypes- Muslim women are often spoken about, scapegoated and degraded without our voices being heard. It seems that every one has a say on the lives of Muslim women, except Muslim women. So to me, this book is an act of resistance, it says: We are here, and we have something to say. 

It was very easy to read but there were some chapters that I strongly disagreed with, especially the one by Mona Eltahawy. I think that was the point though- to show that Muslim women are not uniform and that no one story can reflect all of us. 

The authors and their opinions were very diverse but I would have liked it to be not so centred on the UK as it seems that most of the writers are based there. Then again it would be impossible to have everyone represented, so I’d love to see this become a series to include a greater variety of Muslim women.

Some stand outs for me where:

– On the Representation of Muslims by Nafisa Bakkar

– Not just a Black Muslim Women by Raifa Rafiq

– Between Submission and Threat by Malia Bouattia

– Daughter of Stories by Nadina Aisha Jassat

Overall, i give it 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can see more of my book reviews here. Add me on goodreads so I can see what you’re reading too!

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